NOTE: English translation below
Ok, så er overskriften et billig tjuveri, men pokker heller. London calling er en bra beskrivelse av det faktum at det Londonbaserte audiofirmaet Roksan har laget et sett høyttalere som setter dype spor i sjela. Bli med og lytt på Darius!
47 store sedler er ikke billig for et par stativhøyttalere. Roksan legger lista høyt her, jeg vil rett og slett sitere deres egen beskrivelse av plan og fokus, for jeg mener dette har en viss relevans for det jeg kommer til å si senere i artikkelen…:
NOTE: The author’s native language is Norwegian, so English speaking readers please bear with me, if you find some strange passages here and there…
Okay, the heading a cheap theft, but what the heck, “London Calling” is a good description of the fact that the London-based audio firm Roksan has created a set of speakers that’s inspired, no less. Let’s listen to Darius!
The asking price is not cheap for a couple of standmounts. Roksan has raised the bar quite high here, and, I will simply cite their own description of the plan and focus, ’cause I think this has some relevance to what I’m going to say later in the text …:
It had long been a dream of Roksan two create a reference loudspeaker that delivered an open, detailed sound, superior bass response and high efficiency housed in the modest dimensions of a stand mount design. The Darius S1 is the exciting result of this desire. For quite some time we havebeen working on Applying our knowledge of room acoustics into the design two create the best possible bass reproduction from a small cabinet.
The statement above is hardly a unique plan among loudspeaker manufacturers anywhere. Likewise, we know that the producers rarely hits bulls eye on all aspects at the same time. Sometimes we’re close, but there’s always something; size, price or complexity ofte makes such a product out of reach of the common man. And, in the name of the truth, Roksan Darius is not coming for free either, but it is still a significant step away from the natural contenders like Raidho C 1.1 or other in the same group. Moreover, although I think it is rather brutally demanding good 700 pounds extra for the custom racks, there are still competitors demanding the double and more.
Roksan Darius is a medium-sized bookshelf speaker, it is mainly the depth that draws size up. Some volume is of course needed if one is in need of the lower part of the frequency range, and one is in need of just that, as you know. And, if you want a 5.5-inch aluminum to do the job, volume is indeed mandatory. Some design details must therefore be determined, one of them being a bass unit in need of moving a serious distance. In Darius’ case, this means no less than 12 millimeters, no wonder it’s called long throw… Now, that kind of movement must take a certain period of time, and, although we are not talking minutes here, it’s still a calculation how far a 15 inch unit must move, to engage the same amount of energy. The answer is: Not much! And then it is easy to draw the conclusion that the 15-inch unit can do it faster, given that it has reasonable engine power (magneto strength) at hand. I will not immerse myself more in this issue, although this obviously says something about how the speaker solves it’s tasks. We’ll come back to that when we talk about the sound from Roksan Darius.
OK, so Roksan is mostly right in their statement above, ’cause Darius is a rare speaker, indeed. First, throning on top, the extremely elegant and detailed ribbon tweeter. Being known for limited dispersion in the vertical plane, Roksan also opted to limit it horizontally. A distinct wave-guide is responsible for focusing the energy, making it fire in a narrower area than the tweeter naturally will be able to do. This raises efficiency a bit, plus having effects on the soundstage. First it’s limiting the problem caused by reflections from the nearest surface, and just that is completely audible. These speakers sounds soft, natural and elegant, abilities it keeps whatever volume you play.
I’ve already mentioned the speaker stands, just let me remind you that there are good reasons why Reliant Motor Company in Tamworth no longer produce their iconic model, Robin. (The fact is that they no longer produce anything at all, but that’s a completely different story). Roksan decided to test the three wheel concept again anyway, no soubt they’re British to the fingertips. But to cut a long story short, you’re hereby informed that there is an optional support available. Particularly relevant for families in furnished homes, that wants to avoid the constellation of speakers and children in a tremendous stir.
Inside, Roksan did not save, here you’ll find Mundorf capacitors, metal oxide resistors, silvered cables, and various other costly details. On the front naturally we’ll find the aforementioned drivers, while on the rear you’ll see powerful terminals for bi-wiring, plus two generously sized bass ports on each speaker. The speakers measures just over 37 cm in height and depth, while the front is comfortably slim with its 20 cm. Al in all we have a pair of speakers who is claimed to have a nominal impedance of 4 ohms, and a sensitivity that gives us 89 dB out at 1 Watt intput. Subjectively perceived it sounds less, and, although Roksan have aimed to create an easily driven speaker, I find it pretty power hungry. On the other hand, they hit a home run on their second goal, the bass, so Darius can certainly impress more than novices within hi-fi. The Darius is a work of art, nothing less.
Roksan Darius plays with a full bodied tone, silky smooth and coherent, it embraces the listener with its elegance. I find it especially impressive is that they play so balanced and lively even on (very) low volume; this is simply not something speakers normally do. But no trees grow all the way to the sky, so Roksan Darius will also have deal with certain realities. Despite its elegance and dynamic behavior at lower volumes, it also shows that the incredible bass response is not entirely honest. There is an obvious bass “hunch” here, but even if it is obvious, it’s damned intelligent implemented. When you really crank up, that you can detect a certain tendency to “one note bass”, or, at least a certain lack of nuance in the lower regions. Thus, related to the after all moderate size, it delivers serious amounts sturdy bass, even with an unimaginable conviction and elegance. But seen it in absolute terms, it is still obvious that Aurum Vulkan or Marten Coltrane, for that matter, are (much) bigger speakers than Roksan Darius. But designers will have a hard time making it more convincing than what Roksan have made with this moderate size…
And now, the music, finally. We start carefully, serving the moderate sized giant Roksan Darius, Sophie Zelmani and her song “All about you”. The speakers are then is given the opportunity to excel on all fronts at the same time. The airy openness is indisputable, this is world class, and it makes no sense to debate whether or not you have heard something “better” at just that aspect; we’re listening through an open door to infinity. The voice is reproduced with a blissful gentleness, Sophie Zelmani is so close, so close, you can almost feel her presence in the room. The distinctive guitar tones have a delicious snap, yet no touch of hardness and the sounds just floats in the air. At the same time, we can “see” into a huge room, filled with a backdrop of a small elegant soundscapes and presence. The reproduction is in total balance, and I just don’t have more to add. I guess this is exactly how it should be done.
So let’s just as well plunge across the path, and let good ol’ Deep Purple light up thje room with the 70’s bomb of a song, “Fireball”. We use 25th anniversary edition (f … even that is already 20 years old!). Yes, this works. Almost. Darius has this delicious but balanced “obesity” that fits this type of music like a glove. But remember the small woofer, it will have to fight to make Deep Purple sound realistic, and provide some sort of realism to Ian Paice’s bass drum. Playing at moderate volume, it is pure joy. But hello, play “Fireball” on moderate volume? That would have been something, wouldn’t it! No way but cranking it up. Here we face Roksan Darius’ borders, simple as that. Roksan dreamed of an efficient speaker, but McIntosh’s luminous Wattmeters touches the 300 Watts sign. On the positive side speakers seems to cope rather calmly, no distortion, no stress, it’s still firm and controlled. On the negative side, however, it is easy to hear that the dynamic expression, which excels at moderate volume, is now completely gone. The speakers have delivered it all, and have no more to give. Not exactly angry rock we’re listening to now. But what a relaxed elegance!
Classical works are not forgotten. Opus3 on the platter, Bach concerto in E flat major for violin and orchestra. Again the Darius shines, excels. A certain excessive softness (possibly), but what a tone! This is so ingratiating that it is nearly impossible to turn off. It floats, it sings, it sparkles! The control is total, as long as you leave the speakers in their comfort zone, it’s just amazing. Yes, I’ve heard it larger, more violent, more despotic. But given that you have a not too large room and a comfortable chair to sit in, you have everything you need for a great musical experience. Lovely, Roksan!
Yes, Roksan Darius is a fabulous allround speaker within its own borders. It competes with everything that has been created of moderately large standmounts, regardless of price. Of course it is not perfect, but in some aspects, it’s very close. It has the air and the elegance of the best that can be obtained for money, and underpins this elegance with a very convincing illusion of powerful bass reproduction.
It can be supplied with a not entirely successful stand as additional equipment, I suggest that those of you who can not live without the aesthetic overall picture, rather blow a few bob on solid, conventional speaker stands. And I suggest a you put the speakers in combination with transparent amplifiers with rhythm and drive (preferably Roksan’s own, or Exposure, for example). No, the total will of course not come cheap. This type of great performance unfortunately rarely do.
Finally: going back to my great Arum Vulkan was enlightening. Yet despite the latter’s brilliant quality at every aspect, it became literally a hard transition. Simpler, almost like an elephant in the wine shop, compared to the Roksan Darius. I hardly believed it was possible, but now I’ve heard that too.
For passionate music lovers who enjoy moderate volume in moderately sized rooms, Roksan Darius are formidable. And that’s about all there is to say about that matter.